Expert Witness Says Michael Jackson Hid 15-Year-Long Addiction to Painkillers

Wrongful death trial enters its 77th day of testimony

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Gene Boyars / Star Ledger / Corbis

Singer (1958-2009)

A liability suit against concert promoter AEG Live for the wrongful death of Michael Jackson brought forth an expert witness on drug addiction on Tuesday. Dr. Petros Levounis said Michael Jackson suffered from a “quite extensive” addiction to painkillers in the last 15 years of his life, CNN reports.

It’s a not so startling disclosure, considering the singer himself cut short a 1993 concert tour to check into rehab for a painkiller addiction. Nonetheless, AEG’s defense team called on the doctor to lend support to its argument that no one at the company knew the extent and depth of the singer’s addiction in the last years of his life.

Levounis testified that the close friendship between Jackson and his former doctor, Conrad Murray, created a secretive pathway of opioids between provider and patient. Murray was sentenced to four years in prison for involuntary manslaughter, but Jackson’s aggrieved family members maintain that the circle of responsibility spreads wider.

The trial continues.